The Halo Reach Defiant Map Pack was released today and is available for download on the Xbox Live Marketplace for 800MSP. It can be queued up for download here. The Defiant Map Pack consists of 2 competitive maps, Highlands and Condemned, and a brand new firefight map, Unearthed. The map pack also adds on 3 new achievements for Halo Reach, with it totaling 59 achievements for 1440 Gamerscore overall.
On a side note, I’d just like to point out that some gamers are encountering problems with the maps being loaded and recognized in-game. Bungie addressed those issues earlier with the resolve of going into your Xbox’s System Settings, finding a file called “Bungie Pro Confirmation” and deleting it. From that point on the game will be able to load the maps without any more issues. Deleting this message will not cause any problems with Bungie Pro, as it just a placeholder file that does not impact on the game. I can confirm that this works as my Team Impact teammate had this problem that was fixed by following those steps. If any problems persist you can read the full post at Bungie.net here.
Let’s start with Highlands, an objective oriented map set on Reach in the midst of the Covenant glassing the planet. I think canonically this is set near Castle Base, up in the mountains, but that’s just a personal opinion. Highlands is a great map, it has touches of Valhalla, Blood Gulch and Avalanche to it. Two bases either side of a stream running down the mountains. The palette in Forge is where the Valhalla feel really comes into it. There’s a mix of vehicles available, with Banshees and Falcons able to dominate the airways and Wraiths for Heavy variants. I could see a lot of these implemented into matchmaking in months to come. In matchmaking games however, Ghosts, Warthogs, and Mongooses default set on the map. To counter the vehicular slaughter that could take place, Certain Affinity have placed a Spartan Laser, a Plasma Launcher, two Sniper Rifles and a Grenade Launcher inside the crashed Pelican.
DMRs are placed in perfect positions around the map, up high and down low, at points where you may be lacking ammo or reloading, normally in an open placement with two grenades, with either fragmentation grenades or plasma grenades. Playing Stockpile on Highlands was a joy, as getting the Warthog to run the flags from one end of the map was so easy, I can imagine that Multi Flag CTF is amazing, and would bring a classic Halo feel back to it.
Condemned takes place on a partially destroyed UNSC base set high in orbit around Reach. This is a map oriented around Slayer gametypes, but does work well with Stockpile and Oddball gametypes. The main feature of Condemned that Certain Affinity have put in is a low gravity centre, that has been exposed to space from the oncoming Covenant Cruiser’s onslaught. The map is on a circular structure, with high and low parts, and nooks and crannies that can be explored along with gravity lifts and a beautiful sky-box. There’s a great amount of weapons, if a little overpowered. A rocket launcher, a pair of Sniper Rifles, shotguns, an energy sword. It just seems a little too much. I’d say that was the worst part of Condemned. A great feature is a Sabre docked in the repair bay. Unfortunate timing, as the facility seems to have been deserted. It was just 2 days away from retirement…
Unearthed is the final part of the Defiant Map Pack. A firefight map, it takes place on an abandoned mining facility during the Covenant invasion of Reach. This map has the same feel as Lost Platoon, an original firefight map from Halo 3: ODST. This map is great, I would love for more firefight maps to be added in DLC. It makes for great custom games, especially when another Impact teammate of mine insists on playing Firefight Versus. This map should take centre stage when talking about the Defiant Map Pack. It plays great, has a brilliant looking sky-box and scenery and the Phantom dropships and Drop pods enter the play area seamlessly.
There are two ways that Unearthed can be played. Either you can play it defensively, get a DMR from spawn, stick to the high ground, pick the grunts off as they progress to you, just make sure you watch each other’s backs when playing cooperatively and use your motion tracker at all times. No doing an Emile and getting stabbed in the back by an Elite. The second way that you can play is by grabbing the Rocket ‘hog that’s in the garage grab a gunner and meet the Covenant head on. Grab a person in the triple kill seat with a shotgun and another person in a hijacked Ghost or Wraith and you’re set, especially until you encounter a Hunter or two. Those Hunters, even on Normal, can wreak havoc on an unsuspecting team, on either play-style.
In one word the Defiant Map Pack is amazing. Well worth the price tag of 800 Microsoft Points. Certain Affinity and 343 Industries should be proud with what they have done with Bungie’s swansong to Halo. Definately deserving of a download in my eyes. I’ll see you on the battlefield.